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Executive Director Departs Cannabis Regulatory Commission in New Jersey

Jeff Brown has played an instrumental role in the state's cannabis industry.

Jeff Brown is leaving his current role as executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission in New Jersey.
Jeff Brown is leaving his current role as executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission in New Jersey.
Cannabis Regulatory Commission

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy yesterday announced some senior-level personnel transitions within the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) and the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC).

Jeff Brown, the current CRC executive director, is moving to DOH to serve as the Deputy Commissioner for Health Systems. The move is effective May 20, 2024.

Brown will succeed Robin Ford at DOH. Ford left last Friday for a new role at the New Jersey Innovation Institute.

Brown will join former CRC Deputy Executive Director Kelly Anderson-Thomas, who transitioned to DOH earlier this spring to be a deputy commissioner for public health services.

Current Deputy Executive Director Christopher Riggs will serve as acting executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.Current Deputy Executive Director Christopher Riggs will serve as acting executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.Cannabis Regulatory CommissionCurrent Deputy Executive Director Christopher Riggs, also CRC's former chief counsel, will serve as acting executive director of the CRC.

In a statement, Governor Murphy said, "Since its establishment, Jeff and Christopher have capably guided the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, implementing our adult use cannabis market and ensuring a diverse and equitable landscape throughout the industry. I look forward to working with them both in their new capacities within the administration."

Brown has been responsible for organizational strategy, policy, and managing a $17 million budget at the CRC. Having served in his current role since the CRC's inception, Brown has played an instrumental role in organizational structure. For example, Brown oversaw the first ever comprehensive regulations to underpin New Jersey's personal use cannabis industry as well as the development of laws and tax structures for cannabis sales in the state.

"New Jersey cannabis would not be the thriving state example it is today if not for Jeff's work behind the scenes and in public over the last six years. He leaves a strong legacy for the commission to continue to build on," said CRC Chair Dianna Houenou.

Before joining CRC, Brown served as an assistant commissioner at DOH, overseeing the Division of Medicinal Marijuana. Under his leadership, the Division of Medicinal Marijuana expanded access to patients throughout New Jersey, increasing the number of enrolled patients from 17,000 to more than 95,000 and more than doubling the number of participating physicians and dispensaries.

As the CRC's inaugural chief counsel, Riggs helped build the foundation of the new regulatory agency from the ground up since 2021. Riggs supervised and oversaw the Office of Chief Counsel, including but not limited to issues with licensing, investigations, litigation, and rulemaking.

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